Golden Seams: The Japanese Art of Mending Ceramics

November 8, 2008 – November 29, 2009

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC

Gallery 6A Floor Plan

Clay vessels are remarkably durable, yet they are vulnerable to breakage if mishandled or dropped. This small exhibition presents 13 ceramics from China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan that were mended and enhanced by a unique method created by Japanese craftsmen. This distinctive technique was based on the longstanding practice of using plant resin lacquer as an adhesive, but Japanese craftsmen transformed the appearance of the repair by sprinkling the lacquer with powdered gold, thus creating a new component for appreciation. "Gold" lacquer repairs became closely associated with ceramic utensils used for tea (chanoyu).